The Wayne County Cardinals traveled to Breathitt County last Friday

night to meet the homestanding Bobcats, in the opening round of the Class 3A

state playoffs. The Cards entered with a 4-6 mark in the regular season and

were coming off an impressive 52-0 win over Clinton County. Breathitt

County, the number one seed in their district, owned a 5-5 record and was

coming off a 1-0 forfeit over Magoffin County two weeks earlier, followed by

an open week. The contest, at Mike Holcomb Stadium, marked the first ever

meeting between the two schools.

University of Tennessee recruit Channing Fugate rushed 21 times for 120

yards and scored two first quarter touchdowns, on runs of 68 and 8 yards, as

Breathitt County built an early 12-0 lead, en route to cruising to a 26-0

win. The Bobcats totaled 396 yards of offense and 15 first downs, while

holding Wayne County to a season low 105 yards of offense.

Breathitt County senior quarterback Jade Haddix completed 13 of 18

passes for 134 yards with 2 touchdowns, plus rushed 10 times for 92 yards,

as the winners improved to 6-5 on the season.

"Breathitt County has a nice team and we just struggled to move the

football all night. We had trouble blocking and picking up their blitzes on

offense, while our defense did a pretty decent job on Fugate after the first

quarter. The problem with keying on Channing Fugate is that frees up Jade

Haddix and he's a big time player. Haddix made some very nice throws, but he

really hurt us on some keepers," said Cards head coach Shawn Thompson.

Freshman back Richard Trent added a game best 5 receptions for 54 yards,

that included a 27 yard scoring reception and tallied 5 rushes for 47 yards,

to total 101 yards of offense.

"Breathitt County has some very nice offensive weapons and it all starts

with Fugate, but they have several guys that can play at the next level. I

think we came out a little rattled to start the game, possibly the big

stadium, or facing a team that was in the state championship game last year,

but for whatever reason we didn't have the type of intensity needed to start

the game," said Thompson.

The Cards totaled 46 plays that produced 105 yards and just 6 first

downs. D.J. Hall paced the attack with 13 carries for 38 yards, plus added a

team best 3 catches for 8 yards. Zack Stephenson totaled 13 rushes for 24

yards and completed 5 of 17 passes for 31 yards with an interception, as

Wayne County was shutout for the third time this season.

"We just couldn't answer their defense and tried a lot of different

things that we put in just for this game. We struggled to run, or pass the

ball and when that happens it's a long night for the offense. Our kids

played hard and I'm proud of that, just give Breathitt County credit," said

Thompson.

The Bobcats opened with the football and after a penalty on the first

play from scrimmage, Channing Fugate showed why he will play at Tennessee

with a 68 yard touchdown run. The extra-point failed, leaving the score 6-0

with 11:42 left in the first quarter.

Wayne County turned the ball over on their second offensive play of the

game, as Cory Shouse intercepted a Cardinal pass attempt at the Cards 35

yardline.

The Bobcats used 6 plays, all on the ground to score and push the lead

to 12-0. Fugate had runs of 5, 6 and 2 yards, before scoring from 8 yards

out, to give the hosts two scores less than 4 minutes into the game.

"We knew we would have to play well to go to their place and win, so to

be down two touchdowns so early was very disappointing. Defensively, we

didn't play very aggressive early and they made us pay," said Thompson.

Wayne County failed to gain a first down in the opening period, while

Breathitt County dominated the yardage battle with a 191 to 8 advantage, but

the Cards trailed just 12-0, at the end of the first quarter.

"Considering how much they had the ball, I guess we were fortunate to

just be down 12-0. After their first few series, I thought our defense

settled down a bit and played better," said Thompson.

The Bobcats added to their lead on the opening possession of the second

period on a Jade Haddix 18 yard touchdown pass to Zack Epperson. The score

capped-off a 4-play, 61 yard march and the Billy Davis extra-point pushed

the margin to 15-0, with 10:42 remaining in the first half.

The Cards responded with a little trickery on their next possession,

using the swinging gate formation to get a first down, but a fumble on a

pass completion stopped the drive near mid-field.

Breathitt County committed both of their turnovers in the second

quarter, but Wayne County couldn't turn the miscues into points.

The Cards turned the ball over on downs at the Breathitt County 15 yard

late in the half and then had another chance after recovering a fumble at

the Bobcats 37 yardline. Wayne moved the ball inside the 10 yardline, but

the drive stalled with a penalty and three incompletions, then a Dagan

Shelton field goal attempt from 31 yards was short, to end the half.

Breathitt County returned the field goal all the way back for an

apparent touchdown, but penalties negated the return to leave the halftime

score at 19-0.

"I thought we had two great opportunities before the half to put some

points on the board. If we find a way to score either, or both of those

times it would've made things interesting, but we didn't. That has plauged

us in several games we lost this year, our inability to finish off drives. A

block, a catch, a pass or not getting a penalty, little things like any of

those can be the difference in scoring," said Thompson.

The Bobcats hold Wayne County without a first down in the third frame

and put the game out of reach on their opening series of the second half.

Breathitt County used 7 plays to travel 52 yards and score on their only

pass of the possession, a Jade Haddix 27 yard scoring strike to Richard

Trent. Billy Davis booted the point-after to push the lead to 26-0 with 7:15

left in the third.

Neither team would threaten to score again until the Bobcats used 10

plays to move all the way to the Wayne County 5 yardline, with under 3

minutes remaining in the game. The Cardinal defense refused to allow the

Breathitt County reserves a score and stuffed a forth down run, short of the

first down.

The Cards managed a first down but the clock ran out on the game, with

the host claiming a 26-0 opening round win.

Wayne County's season ended up at 4-7 and the lost also marks the end of

the prep football careers for 13 seniors.

"This wasn't the year we had hoped for, but I'm proud the way our kids

battled back from such a rough start. I appreciate their commitment and all

of their hard work, we certainly appreciate their efforts. We'll miss those

guys, but 2010 will be here before you know it, so we'll go back to work

soon," said Thompson.

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